Battle lines drawn for Gainsborough Constituency ahead of General Election

General election 2019
General election 2019

It will be a four-cornered fight for the Gainsborough constituency at the General Election on Thursday, December 12.

As the closing date for nominations passed, Sir Edward Leigh, who has held the seat for the Conservatives since 1983, discovered that he will face three opponents.

They will be Perry Smith, representing Labour, Lesley Rollings, who will contest her third consecutive General Election for the Liberal Democrats, and Mary Cavill, who is standing as an Independent.

One of the longest-standing MPs in the country, Sir Edward is a London barrister who broke into politics in the 1970s as a fervent supporter of Margaret Thatcher.

Between 2001 and 2010, he was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the main Parliamentary body that oversees public expenditure.

He was knighted in 2013 for Public and Political Service, and last month, he made a bid to succeed John Bercow as Speaker of the House Of Commons.

A well-known Labour activist and campaigner, Perry Smith has lived in Gainsborough for more than 20 years and stood for election to West Lindsey District Council three times.

Now retired, he worked in the building and steelworks trades until becoming a special-needs teacher.

Later, he was a senior lecturer and finished his career as a leading adviser on autism. A beer-lover and football fan, he is secretary of Gainsborough Trinity’s walking football club, and a member of Gainsborough CAMRA.

As Mayor of Gainsborough between 2012 and 2014, Lesley Rollings is credited with rescuing the ailing town council from bankruptcy.

She has also served on Lincolnshire County Council and is currently a key member of WLDC.

A former teacher at Gainsborough Academy, she is now a regional co-ordinator for the national STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) educational project.

Mary Cavill told the Market Rasen Mail: “I am a Lincolnshire woman, born and bred.

“I happened to be born in the 1950s and because of the treatment dished out by successive Governments to this generation of women, I am now standing to fight for our rights and our pensions

“As a 1950 baby I feel strongly that we have been wronged by those in Government with the age rises. Too much, too soon and too badly communicated. I also feel passionately about the whole pensions issue, as this affects all of us, men and women, young and old.

“There are other issues I want to make a stand on, but the biggest is our State pension. The DWP now put out adverts about knowing your State Pension, but what they don’t mention is an even more important question. Do you know your state pension AGE?

“Good health hasn’t always been my friend and I’ve fought and survived some major battles in my life, which makes me all the more determined to fight this battle.

“I’ve had a variety of jobs from the age of 17 and have contributed to the NI Fund and paid tax since then. My most rewarding role of all has been being a mum to three sons. The second most rewarding experience? Being in prison! Working, I might add.

“This means that I have been Home Office security cleared and have also signed the Official Secrets Act at each establishment I’ve worked in (5 in total), and have an Enhanced DBS.

“I’ve spent the last 15+ years as an NVQ Assessor and Internal Quality Assurer working with apprentices aged 16 – 50+ in childcare, teaching assistants, business administration, customer service and management.

“Right now, I’m working freelance with Practice Managers and Assistant Managers in Primary Care which is very interesting, and has given me a real insight to the workings of the NHS Primary Care sector.

“As a 1950s’ woman, I feel we have been discriminated against for a long, long time and now we are being penalised by our own Government.

“By re-instating our pensions, it would free up jobs for younger people and give them the opportunity to carve a career for themselves. Even if you are not a 1950s’ born woman, you should be very angry at this maltreatment of half the population. Nothing has ever, or will ever, be done, if we don’t do something about it ourselves.”